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2016 MCHAP

Córdoba Cultural Center (Interpretation Center, Province Historical Files and Bicentennial Pharos)

Castañeda, Cohen, Nanzer, Saal, Salassa, Tissot Architects

Córdoba, Argentina

October 2014


Nanzer Cristian Tissot Santiago Cohen Alejandro Castañeda Ivan Saal Ines Salassa Juan


Dantas Rosendo (Structural Design Assessment) Veronica Niedfeld (Project development collaborator) Virginia Pinero (Landscape assessment) Carlos Larsson (Structure Calculation)


Gobierno de la provincia de Cordoba


Gonzalo Viramonte Emmanuel Amerise


All the operation consisted in replacing a piece of land from the natural ground by the planned building. In this way, the square (building roof) and the Pharos are the only tectonic devises seen as urban pieces and landscape. The transitable layer has a hole that visually communicates the public surface with the building in yard. There are other yards on the three project perimeters. These yards allow natural light and are used as parking, entertainment and service areas with stepped walls that enclose and keep together in slope the previously digged ground. The project resumes in a topographic device that encourages massive social gathering in this public area. Inside it, as in a cavern, the institutional programs, demanded by Córdoba Province, rest. In this way, there is no competition between the new construction and the two neighbouring buildings. An urban connective system of public spaces is produced. These spaces are the Sarmiento Park anteroom emerging as the only landmark of the Bicentennial Pharos whole The land referred to shows a 6,50 m depression between Poeta Lugones Street access and the highest Sarmiento Park elevation level. This situation allowed conceiving a 63 m by 67 m wavy reinforced concrete layer on a petrified liquid gesture. it shows the movement of a rocky sea which freezes its impulse in the air to introduce the meeting between the city and its oldest park, Sarmiento Park, designed by Architect Carlos Thays.


Making a landscape from a building was the ruling concept that guided this project search on the demand presented by the licitation for the building of a “Córdoba Cultural Center” to commemorate the Argentine Republic Bicentennial. The main challenge was to incorporate The Province Historical File and an the Auditorium without modifying the project essence. The project searched for a long lasting contemporary building as a sign of present time and its new demand for clarity, sustenance, communicative capacity and resource economy. It was an attempt to build a landscape over the idea of building a monument. This urban space is articulated over three basic elements: Stairs Building (pavilion), Pharos (long distance icon) and avenue (with bifurcations and paths network). A landscape that would allow diverse public collective meetings above the idea of a traditional allegoric narrative monument, a meeting area landscape over the idea of a monument-building construction. The landscape experience does not necessarily offer hierarchy points. It is built in real time with the walkers´ common trajectory and it offers numerous possibilities to organize paths and contact points. It expresses the geometry of multiplicity and social flow in public spaces. Because of its settlement at the Sarmiento Park, it is referred to as a Connective intervention, a reconstitution of a more harmonic general whole not identified within a specific time period as to survive fashions and architectural styles. The idea is to rebuild the topographic memory of Cordoba cliffs and its austere landscape.


Cordoba Cultural Center is flanked by the Emilio Caraffa Contemporary Art Museum and the Provincial Natural Science Museum. This trio of structures forms a row of valuable public institutions covering art, history, and science, however Cordoba Cultural Center is the only building that aims to complement Sarmiento Park rather than interrupt the public experience of this vital green space. The greatest challenge had to do with the spatial configuration and structural design of the ‘tectonic plate. The program required it to grant access to the Sarmiento Park as well as to cover the Córdoba Cultural Center and Historic Archives. People from a variety of ages and backgrounds have treated the plaza like an enormous set for staging games. The shapes of the plaza inspire people to race around, to slide about, or to contemplate everyone else within view. That is precisely the essence of a public space.

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